Discover the Best and Worst Hands in Poker | LeoVegas

Best and Worst Hands in Poker

Poker is an incredibly intricate game, and your success, whether playing in-person or at an online casino, depends on understanding the hierarchy of hands. Some combinations can take you to the very top, while some single cards can prove to be your undoing. We’ll explore the entire spectrum, from hands that can push your potential to the next level to those that just aren’t worth your while.

You may have heard of the very best combinations you can get, with the royal flush being the ultimate jewel thanks to its unbeatable cards. Similarly, the straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, and flush can give you the advantage you need to confidently make other players crash out of the game.

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In this guide, we’ll focus on starting hands, the initial cards you’re dealt before community cards come into play. These can be your first step towards achieving that desired royal flush, or they can turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Lonely high cards can be very misleading, while other initial hands are obvious in their lack of usefulness. Below, we’ll explore the polarities of initial poker hands, giving both new and experienced players a deeper look at the nuances of the best and worst poker starting cards.


Best Hands in Poker

The following hands are the best way to start off a round of poker, offering loads of potential that can be improved upon once community cards are added to the mix.

Pocket Aces

The strongest starting hand in poker is Pocket Aces, which as the name implies, comprises two aces. You’ll also hear it referred to as ‘bullets’ or ‘rockets’. There’s no question, Pocket Aces gives you the highest probability of winning compared to other starting hands in Texas Holdem’ poker. However, your success will still depend on how strategic you can be in maximizing their value before and after community cards come into play, and how you take advantage of your opponent’s actions.

Pocket Kings

Another powerful starting hand, Pocket Kings, is similar to a two ace start, although this time round you have two kings looking back at you. The hand is also referred to as ‘cowboys’ and gives you a great starting advantage, topped only by Pocket Aces. It still has a very strong setup, but you’ll need to be creative in capitalizing on its advantage.

Pocket Queens

Pocket Queens or ‘ladies’ is a two queen start and is the third highest ranking straight hand, right behind AA and KK. This can lead to some great combinations once community cards come into play, and either way, you still have a strong starting pair.

Pocket Jacks

The lesser of the pocket hands, Pocket Jacks immediately starts you off with a pair of strong cards. The only way anyone can get an advantage over you at this point is if they have one of the stronger hand pairings mentioned above. Regardless of the slight disadvantage, you can still strategize accordingly to turn these cards into a winning hand.

Ace-King Suited

Players generally call this the ‘big slick’ and it’s one of the strongest starting hands in poker. It’s an ace king combo, which can lead to the strongest pairs in the game. But this hand’s potential is unlocked tenfold if it forms part of a flush. The only downside is that you’re relying completely on drawn community cards to give this hand value, and if you don’t get any helpful draws, the hand can be very disappointing.

Pocket Tens

A pair of tens may not be the highest-ranking starting hand in the game, but it can give you a good head start. Even without community cards being drawn, you already have a potentially winning hand. Of course, you must watch your opponents’ behaviour concerning the drawn community cards, as any pairs involving jacks, queens, kings and aces can beat this hand.

Ace-Queen Suited

This hand gets you a pair made up of an ace card and a queen card of the same suit. It can be incredibly helpful when paired with community cards, but also relies heavily on those same community cards to result in anything worthwhile.

Ace-Jack Suited

The Ace-Jack Suited hand adds the lower-ranking jack card into the mix, but both cards in the hand still need to belong to the same suit. While a jack and an ace of the same suit can result in a high level pair creation, the lower ranking jack can make it hard to complete a high-paying flush.

Ace-King Offsuit

The Ace King Offsuit is another great hand to start off your round. Sure, it would be better to have them both belong to the same suit, but this combination can help you get high-ranking pairs from both of your cards.


Landing any pair of 10s can be immensely helpful, even though you’re no longer playing with royal cards. Two 10s can be a potentially winning hand on their own, but can be significantly boosted with other 10s that land through the community cards.

Worst Hands in Poker

These hands will likely hold you back or put you at a disadvantage. Consider them carefully before deciding on whether you ought to bet or fold.


The 7-2 hand is often considered to be the worst starting hand in poker. The included cards lack strength and don’t offer much potential in trying to put together straights or flushes. It’s also a rather vast range of cards to consider with low ranking and very poor connectivity that you’ll struggle to improve upon with community cards. Most players tend to fold on a 7-2 hand, given how difficult it is to win in this scenario.


This is a tricky hand, as one might initially think that having two starting jacks can be pretty strong. The pair is also referred to as Pocket Jacks or 'hooks,' but despite its initial value, the hand can be quite tricky to play. Overcards like queens, kings, and aces can show up in the community cards, threatening to render the hand useless. You’ll need to carefully consider your actions to avoid losing to higher pairs with this one.


Having a king and queen starting hand is pretty strong with the potential to get high pairs and straights. But if an ace shows up in the community cards, it can end up being quite problematic. You’ll want to make sure you keep an eye out for any aces that pop up and consider the likelihood that one of your opponents may have managed to pair it.


At face value, a jack-ten starting hand, especially suited, can be quite useful and excellent at helping you achieve straights and flushes. Implied odds can make the hand very valuable, but the actual odds of improving are significantly lower. Therefore, you'll want to balance out these odds with very cautious choices.


Also referred to as Matusow’s Nominee, the king-9 starting hand is favoured by pro player Mike Matusow. There is significant flush potential here, but the hand is quite risky. You’ll need to leverage its drawing potential based on drawn community cards to avoid costly commitments.


Also known as Pocket Nines, a double nine starting hand in poker is often overplayed as an overpair. Although it isn’t on the lower end of the ladder, any overcards that hit above in the community cards will instantly affect its strength - so avoid betting blindly. Be cautious of aggressive opponents who may have higher pairs or hit stronger hands through the community cards and stick to disciplined play to avoid any major losses.

High Card

The lowest-ranking starting poker hand is the high-card hand. It comes with no pairs and no meaningful combinations. Although having individual high cards in a hand can offer some value, they’re generally not that useful when they’re not in a pair or a better combination. In most cases, players fold here, hoping that the next round will bring around something better.

Best And Worst Poker Hands FAQs

Why is seven and two the worst poker hand?

The seven-two hand in poker is a terrible starter, widely regarded as one of the worst hands to start with in poker. Comprising two low-ranking cards, it offers very little potential for improvement. Pairs formed with these cards are weak, and their poor connectivity limits the chance of forming meaningful combinations once community cards fall.

What is statistically the best poker hand?

The best starting poker hand is Pocket Aces (two aces as your hole cards). It immediately gives you the strongest starting hand in the game, the highest pair. While it can be improved upon with community cards (say, for a set or full house), its initial strength is unmatched by any other starting hand.

What is the weakest possible poker hand?

The weakest possible poker hand is made up of seven, five, four, three, and two, with at least two different suits. These are all low-ranking cards which can be easily beaten by superior hands.

What is the unbeatable hand in poker?

The Royal Flush is the unbeatable hand in poker. It consists of the five highest ranking cards, an ace, king, queen, jack, and 10, all of the same suit. It is indeed, the best hand you can hope to complete in the game of poker.

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